Apple says it will put its AI processing data in a "cloud black box" to keep it private

AI business data center
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

With many other top tech firms going all-in on Ai technology, the industry is still preparing for Apple's somewhat delayed entry into the AI market.

Apple is expected to reveal a comprehensive AI strategy as part of its upcoming iOS and macOS updates at WWDC 2024, and it’s likely that the company may turn to cloud processing to handle the data.

Having traditionally emphasized on-device processing to protect user privacy, a report by The Information has detailed how the company could use ‘black box processing’ maintain security while using online services.

Apple’s AI might rely on a ‘black box’ in the cloud

Typically, cloud services encrypt data when stored, but in order to process data, it must be decrypted. iCloud already uses a mix of in transit, on server and end-to-end encryption across its services depending on the level of protection users choose.

Apple’s solution for upcoming AI services, says The Information, is to upscale its Secure Enclave technology which isolates sensitive data in order to enable private processing in the cloud.

The approach looks to be linked to the Apple Chips in Data Centers project – a project that will see Apple develop its own chips to run AI services in data centers. 

The confidential computing initiative, reportedly in development for over three years, aligns with Apple’s vision to create lightweight devices that rely on cloud processing, helping to reduce the on-device load. This could reduce hardware requirements for future products, enhancing their portability and (dare we say it) even reducing costs.

Recent reports indicate that the company has been rolling out M2 Ultra chips across its cloud infrastructure, with plans to upgrade to M4 chips on the horizon.

In years gone by, Apple has been criticized for slightly underwhelming summer events, with software updates lacking some of the features available from other platforms. The recent AI boom has added to that sentiment, but with WWDC 2024, the iPhone maker could soon claw that back and level the playing field once more.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!